The Best in Canine Fitness Centers!

Who Should Try Out Canine Fitness Centers?

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We often hear about canine fitness centers, which include fun and healthy alternatives to staying at home like aromatherapy, massage, acupressure and fitness swimming. Sometimes as pet parents, we do not have the time to exercise our pooches as often as we should, and dropping them off at a dog fitness center is the next best option. Here they’ll be playing and exercising with other dogs, instead of being alone at home, while you’re out at work or running errands.

Some of these are designed to be soothing and include spacious rooms for doggie daycare, treatment rooms for massage, and indoor swimming pools with large backyards to play and run around in.

Therapeutic Doggie Day Cares

Most technicians at these centers have veterinary care experience, and have a veterinarian on call. For dogs that are partially paralyzed or suffering from injuries, swimming exercises the limbs. Dogs that have high- energy also frequent dog fitness centers to calm them. Always make sure to find out which daycares are the best for your dog, since there are many different types of canine daycares that offer different activities.

As dog parents realize that their canines need regular exercise and massage as a preventive measure to maintain good health, especially in old age, these centers are not only for the pampered canine but for those suffering from injuries. Aqua exercise is beneficial for the following:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Weight loss and conditioning
  • Mental focus and relaxation

It’s hard for your dog to be home alone all day.  Not only does your pooch have the best opportunities for supervised play and socialization, he can also benefit from any spa or aqua exercises that are available. Try to add in some positive training classes. In this way, not only will your furry best friend make friends, he’ll also benefit from positive training and socialization. As usual, always consult with your veterinarian  for the best veterinary advice , and read as many reviews about the doggie daycare before dropping off your pooch. In short,  take a look at the daycare before dropping off your furry best friend! Visit as many as you can before making a decision!

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If you’re interested in canine retreats, please visit:

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Claudia Bensimoun

©Copyright 2015

How To Stop Attention Seeking Barking

Attention Seeking Barking

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Our dogs are smart and soon learn which behaviors get reinforced. If your dog barks to demand attention, he’s probably aware that he’s going to get your attention. When your dog does this, any attention from you is regarded as a reward. He may be asking for another treat, going out to play or he may be wanting to engage in play with you this very minute. To change this behavior, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Ignore your dog by not looking at him when he barks.
  • When he does become quiet for that minute, turn toward him, yet do not interact with him just yet. You’ll need to make sure that he’s settled down, and does not resume barking the minute you reward him.
  • When he does settle down, approach him, praise and reward with a high-value liver or beef freeze dried treat.
  • You’ll need to practice this a few times a day in short increments of time. Reward each time. Keep training positive, low key and calm until you capture the right behavior. If your dog becomes tired or unfocused, try again later on. Training works best early morning. Consistency, kindness and patience is key!
  • Never do this if your dog needs to go potty outside. Take him outdoors immediately.

Tips For Preventing Excess Barking

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  • Keep your dog well-exercised. An under- exercised dog will bark excessively because it’s a physical activity that provides an outlet for boredom.
  • If your dog is not on a scheduled exercise/walk schedule, set one up for him. All dogs, regardless of breed or size need to go for long walks, off -leash hikes, trips to the beach, and have plenty of interaction and socialization with other dogs, people and other pets.
  • If you’re not giving your dog regular exercise, you’re setting him up for failure. Young dogs, most especially adolescent dogs need at least an hour or more of exercise daily, as well as free play – off- leash without any form of restriction on movement.
  • Make every day in your dog’s life the very best it can be! Plan fun outings to the dog beach, or an exciting hike. Schedule canine playdates at the dog park and most importantly, don’t allow for your dog to become bored!

Copyright © text and images 2015 by Claudia Bensimoun. All rights reserved.

How To Stop Nervous Barking

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Nervous Barking

1.In this scenario, you’ll need to identify why your dog is barking, and his source of fear.

2.Begin by gradually introducing him to his “source of fear”.

3.Identify your dog’s threshold which would be the distance that he begins barking from.

4.Start introducing him sub-threshold to the “feared object”

This is done by slightly increasing the distance from where the triggered barking begins.

5.Offer his high-value liver or beef freeze dried treats every time he’s exposed to the fear object.

6.When your dog starts looking at you all the time, and waiting for his treat, and he sees the “feared object” (trigger), ask him to sit to receive his treat. He now gets an alternative positive behavioral response that used to be a negative one.

7.Slowly decrease the distance between your dog and the feared object. (trigger) If he starts fearing the trigger again, then backtrack a distance, and repeat the practice, all the while rewarding him.

8. Reward and praise!

Copyright © text and images 2015 by Claudia Bensimoun. All rights reserved.

How To Stop Separation Barking

Separation- Issue Barking IMG_0184 All dogs are social and enjoy being around people. Dogs naturally will be left alone at times. That said, there are some dogs that become anxious, bored, and experience severe distress when left alone. They then will engage in excessive barking, destructive chewing, soiling, and attempts of trying to escape. If your dog is showing symptoms of severe separation issues, he’s most likely bored due to lack of mental stimulation and not enough exercise.

1.Don’t Allow For Your Dog To Be Left Alone

While your dog undergoes his behavior modification program, alternatives should be employed to leaving your dog at home alone. Contact a favorite pet sitter, dog walker of doggie daycare. You’ll find that once his separation issues have been resolved, his excessive barking will cease.

2.Practicing Mini-Absences During Puppyhood Helps To Prepare Your Pooch For Longer Absences

That said, no absence should be traumatic for your dog. Leave him in an environmentally stimulated environment where he should have access to windows, so that he can look outside, see the birds, trees and other animals.  Make sure that he’s environmentally stimulated!

3.Contact Your Veterinarian If Your dog is Showing Signs of Stress

You may not have spent enough time during puppyhood preparing him to spend time alone. In this case you’ll need to consult with your veterinarian and a behaviorist to discuss ways of gradually acclimating your furry best friend to spending time alone. Some dogs with bad separation anxiety will be prescribed canine Prozac.

4.Best Interactive Dog Toys For Home-Alone Time

Try out pet activity toys and treat puzzle games to keep your dog mentally stimulated when you’re away from home. Naturally, supervise at first to make sure that your dog will be safe when left alone.

5.Exercise Your Dog Before Leaving Home

Like humans, all dogs need regular exercise every day.


Copyright © text and images 2015 by Claudia Bensimoun. All rights reserved.

How To Stop Yard Barking

Steps To Resolve Yard Barking


Gardens and backyards are great places for your dogs to enjoy. Dogs tend to get lonely if left alone. When this happens, your dog will patrol the fence or gate area, and start barking at any strangers he sees. Your dog is protecting your property from animal and people intruders. He also gets an adrenaline rush from successfully scaring off anyone walking near the property.

If you tend to leave your dog alone in the yard, you may be encouraging your dog to bark at everyone that walks by. That said, he is also in a vulnerable position, to be stolen, poisoned or hurt by another animals.


1.Keep Your Dog Supervised When Out In The Garden.

Watch for cues, as to how he’s going to react when he sees other dogs or people approaching your property.

2.If He Starts Barking, Be Proactive By Redirecting Him Before It Happens

Working on these issues when he’s a bit hungry especially before feed time, makes him enjoy his treat so much more. Remember to keep rewarding. Remove your dog from the motivation. Encourage him to focus elsewhere before the barking begins.

3.When You First Begin Training Your Dog, Be Sure To Have Him On a Leash

This makes it so much easier. That way your dog can’t run off to the far end of your property where you have no control over his barking.

4.Take Mini- Breaks Throughout Training

This will help both of you focus, and to have more fun during training.

5. Encourage Him To Focus On Other Things Besides Barking

Regardless of why your dog is barking excessively at strangers or other dogs that are approaching your yard, you’re going to need to properly socialize your dog. Try to encourage the right behaviors during puppyhood.

Copyright © text and images 2015 by Claudia Bensimoun. All right reserved.

How To Keep a Dog From Digging


1.Communicate With Your Dog

Digging is a normal part of a dog’s behavior. Your dog has many reasons for digging up the garden. Positive training methods are important when dealing with all dogs. By developing strong bonds with your dog, you’ll not only encourage him to look to you for guidance, but you’ll improve your relationship. Avoid punishment, and incorporate training throughout the day. All training involves communicating with your dog-dogs will respond to the tone of your voice and body language. Be assertive, yet kind and be consistent with your commands. Know when to end a training session, and how to avoid stress when training. If you’re pet parent to a puppy, go to a puppy training class. He’ll need the more structured training and socialization during adolescence. If your dog is in the habit of digging, you’ll need to break that habit. Habit formation takes a long time, yet training does not. Try not to allow habit formation with any unwanted behavior. The sooner an unwanted behavior is addressed, the easier it is to redirect the dog to a more appropriate behavior.

2. Don’t Allow Your Dog To Spend Unsupervised Time Alone in The Yard

While digging and burying are behaviors that small terriers and even Retrievers are well known for, all dog breeds will dig into the earth, and thoroughly enjoy this experience. To prevent unwanted digging in the most favorite part of your garden, choose one spot and designate it as the digging area. When responding to a particular unwanted behavior, you’ll need to assess the situation. Look at the situation from your dog’s point of view. Don’t allow your dog to spend unsupervised time in your garden. Recognize that digging is a natural canine behavior, and that you’ll have to give him his own “ mini yard” to play in, and to bury his toys and bones. Don’t ban digging altogether, but reinforce digging in the newly allocated digging zone.

3.Develop Realistic Expectations

 Digging usually begins at around 4-5 months of age and this is usually the time that we start leaving our pups outside for a few minutes. All puppies are curious, so this will prompt your dog to dig, bark and to try and possibly escape from his backyard. Your dog most enjoys companionship, so if left to his own devices, he may try to escape. All dogs are also social and enjoy being their human pet parents. If left alone for long periods of time, they may try to entertain themselves by digging or escaping. Never punish your dog if he tries to dig while supervised. Instead keep him on a leash, and take him to his newly allocated digging spot. Don’t correct after the digging. Prevent digging in unwanted areas by showing him where he can dig! Reward and praise frequently! Anticipate his need for exploration, mental stimulation and companionship. Develop realistic expectations for your dog at each developmental stage of his life. If your dog is a digger, make sure that he does not swallow small bits of plastic, fertilizer or pesticide. These all have the potential to kill him.

4.Create a Special Digging Area Just For Him

 Bury bones in his digging area. You can encourage digging in this area by burying bones and dog toys in the sand. Reward him when he digs this up. Create an environment that will intrigue your dog, so that he’ll be drawn to his own special digging area. Remove your dog immediately from the banned digging area, and place him in his own area. Reward him with a high-reward treat like LiveFree or Stewart freeze- dried training treats. Consider spaying or neutering your dog, since this helps curb his desire to leave home. Increase his exercise routine, since excessive digging can be due to lack of exercise. Go out and purchase a children’s wading pool for your dog and fill it with fresh water. This tends to reduce a need to digging on hot days, since there is now a cool place to lie down in. In addition to the tips above, consider your pet’s personality, breed and age to determine if he’ll be content with the allocated digging spot. Try out the dog beach for extra digging opportunities for your pooch.


Copyright © 2015 by Claudia Bensimoun. All rights reserved.

How To Teach a Dog To Stop Barking at Visitors

As pet parents we all love our dogs and constantly want them around us. But to do this, your dogs need to understand the basics of obedience training. Dogs bark to communicate. Some will bark when lonely, others when they’re excited or bored.

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Positive Training

 All positive training requires that the best way to stop unwanted behavior is to first train your pooch to do what you want him to do. This prevents you from punishing him doing the things you don’t want. To positively teach your dog to stop barking, you’ll first need to train him to stop barking on command. First acknowledge what your dog is barking at. Reward him. Then work towards teaching him to stop barking, and then reward the behavior with his favorite high-value treat and plenty of praise. Keep in mind that your dog can’t enjoy his treat and bark at the same time.

 1.Get a Friend To Ring The Doorbell

 First invite a friend to come over and to ring the doorbell.

2.Reward Your Dog For Barking

Wait for your dog to start barking. Have a few of his favorite high-value freeze-dried beef or liver treats available. Acknowledge your dog and his barking. Give him a pat and some praise. Say “Good Dog”. Keep in mind that your dog is trying to tell you that someone is at the door, and that for your furry best friend this is an important issue that needs to be brought to your attention. Reward your dog with the treat. Understand that your dog can’t enjoy his treat and bark at the same time.

3.Allow Your Friend To Come In

Allow your friend to come in. Give your dog the “quiet” command after your friend comes in the door, and then reward again when he is quiet. You can then give him all the treats together. In that way, he’s too busy with his treats to start barking.

If your dog is not that easily willing to comply with the quiet command when he’s offered his treat, there is another dog-training method that you can use.

Alternative 2: Down Command

1.Get a Friend To Ring The Doorbell

 Schedule a convenient time with a friend to ring your doorbell. Explain what you’re doing, and let him know that you’re teaching your dog not to bark at visitors, so that he does not become alarmed by the barking.

2.Put a Leash on Your Dog Before Your Friend Arrives

The easiest way to control your dog is to have him on a leash.

3.Put him in the “Down” position for a few seconds before the doorbell rings

The Down command should be easy for your dog to understand. This is never about a struggle with your dog. Do not get him panicked or scared. Teaching should always be fun. Make sure to have completed the basic training commands before doing this exercise.

4.Open The Door For Your Friend

Allow your friend to enter your home.

5.Step Lightly on the Leash

 If he tries to get up to begin barking all over again, step lightly on the leash, so that he does not break the “Down” command.

6.Reward Your Dog

Reward your dog with a high-value treat when he’s in the Down position.

7.Repeat The Process a Few Times

Repeat this process a few time, but in small 3 minute sessions, so as not to bore your dog, until he becomes aware of how much fun it is to get a treat each time he listens to you.

Keep in mind that barking is a normal reaction for all dogs, and should never be punished. Training the positive way simply creates an experience that’s fun for both you and your dog. The idea is to never get angry with your dog, but to stay calm and focused. Training sessions should always be short. Both you and your dog need to be focused and eager to please each other. Always praise the positive behavior of keeping quiet when asked with a high- value treat!

There are rarely any quick fixes for behavioral problems. This is because these problems usually stem from complicated underlying problems that need to be resolved with a certified professional positive trainer. Most of these problems result from a lack of understanding and communication between pet parent and pooch. Training needs to start during puppyhood so that it builds a solid foundation of communication. How else is your furry best friend going to understand you? When both pet parent and pooch have these basic training skills, and an understanding of one another, most behavioral problems can be resolved with patience, kindness and respect towards our dogs!

 © Copyright text and images 2015 by Claudia Bensimoun. All right reserved.